One dim sum lunch in Hong Kong?

I have tried Yan Toh Heen many years ago, but only dinner, so I have no idea of their dim sum. I remember their roast meat especially pork belly was sublime.

I recall seeing their roast duck and that looked amazing, but the prices for such items were even more amazing… eeps. I’m actually rather curious about dim sum at Fook Lum Moon or Luk Yu Tea House since they’re considered more the classical styles. Will have to try that whenever I’m around next time.

We recall this is the pedigree? – When Yan Toh Heen at the Intercontinental was Lai Ching Heen at the Regent, its chef was none other than the current chef of Lung King Heen in the Four Seasons? What we remember about Lai Ching Heen was a luncheon of both delicious delicate dim sum and sublime steamed pink garoupa. It was about this time we tried Luk Yu and came away not impressed and ready for more Lai Ching Heen.

I remember the roast dish, also because they cut the pork belly into small precious cubes, and had barely enough among us. It did help the fact that we were 4 to share the bill that day. I noticed the bigger the party going to a Chinese restaurant, the cheaper it was and we could try more things.

I tried Luk Yu many years ago, not impressed too, over priced classical dim sum that you could find cheaper in other old style Chinese restaurants. I read there was 2 standard of Luk Yu, the “pedestrian” food on 1 floor and better food reserved for their frequent clients (or food critics) on another floor. No idea how to access to their better food, but I find this discrimination amazing.

Yup. You need to be a “regular” to snare a hard-to-get table on the ground floor, where the decor is old-world Hong Kong. The tourists and other hoi-polloi are basically herded away upstairs, where you get large tables and a lot of noise!

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We can understand there can be desirable tables, but saving “better” food for favored clients doesn’t make sense as good business practice. The food comes from the same kitchen, and who knows which new client would like the cooking enough to become a recognizable regular who might “deserve” a desirable table. You have one chance to make a good first impression.

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It can happen when ingredients, especially like abalone that they don’t have enough quantity to be available to everyone or very expensive ingredients or dishes no longer available on the menu that they can only offer for their regular clients, an example of this is Fook Lum Moon (for rare and expensive ingredients).

Luk Yu seems to be another case, if you read reviews on Open Rice, many complained especially about the arrogant servers (preferred rich clients). If not because of its prime location, charming decoration and people’s nostalgia, this place would have been closed long time ago. Actually it seems they are not too different from the business practice of the former Yung Kee. I wonder if this is the old HK business practice.

Back to that Lai Ching Heen dim sum/garoupa lunch – one of our guests asked the waiter about “off-menu specials” and was told “we make all our best available to our diners.” If we were regulars and the kitchen was out of abalone, we could always return; if we ran a restaurant and the kitchen had abalone and a first-time diner ordered it, instead of saying we ran out, we’d surely serve it in hopes of turning a first-timer into a regular, or at least someone who would tell the world about our excellent abalone. That’s a lot different than seating regulars at the desirable tables.

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Huh, good question.

Better to please returning diners (especially those high roller ones?) or better investment to try to get new regulars?

You’re in the service business. You have to do both.

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Do locals bother with the 2 & 3* joints? I get the feeling only tourists venture to these restaurants for dim sum … I didn’t notice any cantonese speaking patrons when I was at Yan Toh Heen

Those with views are pretty hard to get reservations within a few days. So if I am a local I’d probably just go to something like a Lei Garden and call it a day. Its not like families plan for their weekly dim sum outings a month out. Highrolling locals just need to go to FLM.

Most of Ming Court’s and Shang Palace’s patrons are mostly locals, despite the stars. They don’t have views though. Maybe that’s MC’s problem. Just got demoted to *. But even when it was ** it didn’t seem to have much tourist traffic.

Yee Tung Heen has a least half tourists when we were eating, many mandarin speaking tables and a few with foreigners.

And a lot of the starred restaurants are in high end hotels.

How did you feel about these 2 restaurants, you prefer which one more?

I just had a meal at Tin Ho Wan Sham Shiu Po, every dish was too sweet to me. I prefer Lin Heung, even the rendition was more old style.

Also trying to look for a tea house that opens in the morning. Any ideas? TIA

If you want to have a dim sum buffet, this offer from Loong Yat Heen (Kowloon Hotel, Tsim Sha Tsui) might be interesting to taste 50+ plates for HK$238/ person. Too bad, we will be leaving Hong Kong next Monday. You can buy the promotion coupon here, the coupons will be available 2 days after purchase:

Don’t forget that you still need to reserve way ahead of time after you have bought the coupons, I read reviews from Open Rice, this promotion was quite popular with the locals.

The waiter /waitress said the chefs came from Peninsula hotel’s Spring Moon 嘉麟樓.


Mmmm TLH had an awesome view but their rice noodle roll machine was down. The only problem with that visit was that it was like a year apart so harder to compare. I think LKH felt a little more refined and had a few little items that was differentiating it but I think you can’t go wrong with either.